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South Texas Scientists Link Obesity to Alzheimer’s Gene


Tape measure and scale

Researchers from UT Health San Antonio have tied obesity to with 21 Alzheimer’s disease-related genes. In analyzing 74 Alzheimer’s-related genes from the Framingham Heart Study, researchers found that 21 of them were either under-expressed or over-expressed in obesity. “Several of the genes were more strongly related to obesity in midlife versus in late life, and also to obesity in women versus men,” said Dr. Claudia Satizabal, study lead author and assistant professor of population health sciences at UT Health San Antonio. Alzheimer’s Genes Linked to Obesity The UT Health San Antonio study also found 13 Alzheimer’s-related genes were associated with body mass index (BMI) and eight genes associated with a second metric of obesity called waist-to-hip ratio. “Those ...

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Step Up for Obesity Care Week 2023!


OAC obesity cares week ocw2023

Obesity Care Week 2023 (#OCW2023) is here! From Feb. 27 to March 3, 2023, Obesity Care Week is an annual public awareness effort to end weight bias, as well as raise awareness, educate and advocate for a better world for people living with obesity. Also, World Obesity Day is March 4, 2023. Our Salud America! Latino health equity team at UT Health San Antonio is happy to serve as an OCW2023 Champion to support this awareness week. "Unlike most other diseases, obesity is one that continues to be stigmatized and those impacted struggle to receive any care in many cases, let alone adequate care," said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio and a leading health disparities researcher. "OCW2023 aims to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for ...

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Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez to Launch $4.1 Million Latino Cancer Health Equity Research Center


Avanzando Equidad de Salud Center

Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez of UT Health San Antonio is launching the new "Avanzando Equidad de Salud: Latino Cancer Health Equity Research Center" thanks to a 4-year, $4.08-million grant from the American Cancer Society. The Avanzando Equidad de Salud Center, which will begin in February 2023, is a response to the severe cancer burden facing Latinos in South Texas. The center will unite South Texas research scholars and the community to reduce health disparities across the cancer care continuum by targeting social determinants of health that prevent Latinos from obtaining equitable care. "Our new center will conduct a unique combination of community-engaged research, training, patient assessment, and advocacy to address the social determinants of health — such as access to ...

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“Say Cheese!” February is National Children’s Dental Health Month


Children's Dental Month

With all the Valentine’s Day candy now on sale, it can be tempting to buy your child a sweet treat. But indulging in sugary food and drinks on a regular basis can cause an array of health problems, such as cavities and other dental health issues. In recognition of National Children’s Dental Health Month, here’s five tooth-friendly snacks you can feed your child to promote good oral health, according to Beatriz Hicks, a clinical associate professor in the department of periodontics at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Tooth-Friendly Snacks Crunchy fruits, like apples and pears “Apples and pears act like toothbrushes. They are crunchy, have the potential to clear plaque from your children’s teeth and can freshen breath,” Hicks explained. Another fruit ...

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Can Texts Help Latino Young Adults to Quit Smoking?


quitxt quit smoking service new grant evluation text texting

Dr. Patricia Chalela of UT Health San Antonio has received a new five-year, $2 million research grant to test the impact of Quitxt, a bilingual text messaging program that helps Latino young adults in South Texas to quit smoking. The grant is among $90 million for new cancer prevention and research projects from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). For the grant, Dr. Chalela and her team will recruit 1,200 Latino smokers ages 18-29 who agree to try to quit smoking. Half will receive Quitxt, a free texting service with culturally appropriate visual, video, and audio content fueled with evidence-based techniques to prompt and sustain smoking cessation. The other half will get abbreviated text messages and referral to the "Yes Quit" smoking cessation ...

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Watch Webinar: Busting the Myths and Cultural Barriers to Clinical Trials



Some Latinos fear becoming a guinea pig. Others worry about cost or trust. But clinical trials can provide volunteers potentially life-saving treatments and help researchers learn how to manage and treat different diseases for their family and communities. UT Health San Antonio held a Zoom webinar — “Busting the Myths and Cultural Barriers to Clinical Trials” — at 11 a.m. CT on March 9, 2023. This webinar features health experts and real Latino clinical trial volunteers to help define clinical trials, bust several common cultural, social, and logistical myths about clinical trials, and share testimonials of trial participation. Panelists will also connect audience members with culturally relevant resources and available opportunities to participate in clinical trials ...

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Construction Sites: Not Just Dirty and Dusty – Germy, Too


germs in construction site

Germs are everywhere, including in dirt and dust! When we think of dirt in our daily lives, we usually think of potted plants and gardens. When we think of dust, we think of the kind that we clean in our house and workplaces. But fine dust can also be present at construction and maintenance projects inside a building, like taking out parts of a wall or renovating a room. Also, when construction and maintenance projects that move a lot of dirt and dust around happen in or near a healthcare facility, it can send germs that are in the dirt and dust into the air. These germs can harm certain patients with weakened immune systems. What Kind of Germs Are in Dirt and Dust? Dirt and dust contain many germs, including a fungus called Aspergillus. Aspergillus and other fungi ...

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February is American Heart Month


American Heart Month Announcement

Ah, February. The month dedicated to celebrating love and relationships. But before you take a deep dive down the Valentine’s Day candy aisle, consider a healthier way to show yourself and loved ones some love. February is American Heart Month, a time for Latinos and all people to focus on their cardiovascular health. Join us in raising awareness of heart disease, the driving forces behind it, and how to address it throughout the month of February and beyond. What is Heart Disease? Heart disease refers to several types of heart conditions, according to the CDC. The most common type of heart disease in the US is coronary artery disease, which can restrict blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack. Other forms of heart disease include irregular heartbeats, ...

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As Texans Lose Pandemic SNAP Benefits, Food Banks Brace for ‘Wave’ of Hunger


Losing SNAP benefits

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps one in eight Americans put food on the table. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, millions of Americans lost their jobs and experienced reduced incomes – causing Congress to make temporary emergency changes to SNAP. As a result, SNAP recipients experienced a boost in benefits, either receiving an additional $95 in benefits or an additional benefit valued up to the maximum benefit for their household size, whichever value was greater, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. While these emergency allotments have ended in many states, the Lone Star State has continued providing eligible households with an increased food budget. However, Texans may feel the pinch in the next few weeks, as Congress ...

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